Entry 414: Men Are From Mars, Women Are from that Nice Ecru-Colored Planet

A few years ago, when this blog was still about old people buying their first actual house, I did a post about choosing a color with which to paint a wall in our new kitchen. In it, I wrote about the two times in my life that I had been ambushed by women demanding that I select a hue from among a half dozen identical swatches.

These women (in one case, my wife Barbara, in the other, our friend Rory), insisted that behr-colorsmart-48[1]the shades were markedly different, and implied that I was an aestheticless ass for not being able to discern the subtle variations that were so obvious to them.

Well, I will now have these women know, albeit years after the fact, that I am not an ass, at least not because I can’t tell Innocence from Belgian Cream.

What I am, according to a new study, is a guy.

Evidently, women are physiologically better at distinguishing among subtle distinctions in color, while men appear more sensitive to objects moving across their field of vision. In other words, men can quickly identify that tiger racing toward them, although they can’t tell you whether its color is Carrot Stick or Tangelo. On the other hand, a woman would be able to tell you the tiger’s exact color, except that she won’t even see it until it’s close enough to turn her into a carrot stick.

This would have allowed my long-ago ancestor, Grok the Useless, to track animals as the rest of his clan hunted them down. (Grok was neither hunter nor gatherer; he was possibly the first consumer.) Once everyone had eaten the prey, the skins were turned into clothing, and the women were then able to use their vision specialty to accessorize.

Hah! Just kidding, ladies. The ability to differentiate colors would have been useful in distinguishing the dangerous plants from the nutritious ones, which gave the earliest humans a more balanced diet because, let’s face it, if it was left up to the males, they wouldn’t have gotten any roughage at all.  Except Grok, who’d eat pretty much anything.

It’s unclear if these skills still have value in today’s modern world.  I suppose a man’s outfit is more likely to clash than a woman’s, and a woman is more likely to notice it…unless the man was moving through her field of vision.

In Other Men vs. Women News…

…a study at the University of Virginia has shown that men are more likely than women to give themselves electric shocks for no apparent reason.

Yes, when locked in a room with nothing to do but be alone with their thoughts, 66% of young men and only 25% of young women chose instead to send electricity coursing through their veins.

As I see it, there are three possible reasons for this:

  1. Men get bored more easily than women.
  2. Men have a higher pain threshold than women.
  3. Men are idiots.

Given these choices, I’d be inclined to go with number one. But it’s not only that men get bored faster, it’s that they have fewer thoughts to keep themselves occupied. A young woman, when locked in a room with nothing to do, can kill time considering the following:

  • A) What color should I get my nails done, Pink Before You Leap or Lucky Lucky Lavender?
    B) Should I be angry with Jocelyn for not inviting me to Penny’s birthday lunch or thankful because I really don’t like Penny?
    C) That thing the guy from the show Arrow does with the horizontal bar is amazing, butPilot should I add him to my free pass list?
    D) Should the guy from the show Arrow, who, by the way, is really ripped, replace Adam Levine or what’s-his-name from The Vampire Diaries?
    E) Am I watching too many shows on the CW?
    F) Does this outfit make me look fat?
    G) How romantic should Valentine’s Day be?
    H) I mean, we’ve only been going out a couple of months, actually 47 days, and I like Tom, but…
    I) …what degree of “like” do I want to indicate?
    J) I don’t want Jim to think we’re just, like, casual…
    K) …but I don’t want to scare him away, either.
    L) OMG–did I say Jim? I meant Tom. Am I still hung up on Jim?
    M) Look at that–my thumbs are actually twitching from not having texted for 10 minutes.
    N) How much are they paying me to sit in this room?
    O) Is it enough to buy that adorable dress at H&M?
    P) Jim would really like me in that dress.
    Q) OMG! I did it again!
    R) Vanessa’s going vegan. Should I go vegan?
    S) I really don’t like vegetables.
    T) “Nice to meet you, Where you been?, I could show you incredible things, Magic, madness, heaven, sin”
    U) Ugh! I dance like a spaz.
    V) Is that why Jim didn’t ask me out? Think–could he have seen me dancing?
    W) OMG–Abby’s party! When I spilled the Red Bull and Schnapps. He must think I’m so lame!
    X) Be honest, though: is Tom a settle?
    Y) Are these walls painted Lemon Yellow or Electric Yellow?
    Z) Oh, someone’s at the door…

Whereas a man will have these thoughts:

  • A) I can’t believe I picked Jay Cutler for my fantasy quarterback.
    B) Taylor Momsen is HOT!
    C) What does this wire do again?

On the other hand, maybe men are just idiots.

See you soon.

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2 Responses to Entry 414: Men Are From Mars, Women Are from that Nice Ecru-Colored Planet

  1. davidd says:

    Being, as I am, an awesome (or perhaps sadistic) teacher, I took an antique “medical” device to school last quarter that generates a “subcutaneous electric current.” In other word, it shocks people, in a range from barely perceptible tingle to almost paralyzing the muscles. The students (elementary school age) LOVED it! We would form a big circle holding hands and slowly crank up the voltage until somebody let go. Then we’d do it again with a smaller circle. After everyone had been thoroughly electrocuted… we’d start over.

    The girls had a higher electricity tolerance than the boys.

    I can guarantee you that most of my students, irrespective of gender, would gleefully spend their “thinking time” amusing themselves with electric shocks.

    I would posit that the results of the U of Virginia study could possibly have been skewed by prior experience with electricity. I wonder if the… what were they, escaped Nazi scientists?… people conducting the study thought to check the prior life and educational history of the participants relative to electricity.

  2. markhal says:

    Davidd–Funny you should say this. From the article about the study:”All of those participants had previously been shocked and had said they would pay to avoid being shocked again, but changed their mind after just minutes alone in a room.”

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